Tower Hamlets Labour Mayor Biggs’ Administration Battling Serious Criminal Corruption and Bribery Allegations (Picture: The Sunday Times)
Labour Mayor of Tower Hamlets, John Briggs’ Labour administration, battling allegations of corruption and bribery, has been under intense scrutiny based on the extremely damaging revelations in the national media but despite this scandal, and what many residents consider a shockingly poor performance as the Labour Mayor with the absolute executive power and a decisive majority in Town Hall, Tower Hamlets Labour sources close to Biggs strongly believe that he is comfortably expected to win again in May 2018 – his second term in power on 4 May 2018 with Labour gaining as much as 35-40 seats in Tower Hamlets. The bold claim – seen arrogant and entitled by critics – is being made before a single vote has been cast by residents and the result declared by the officials.
Another Heading in the National Media about Tower Hamlets Under Labour Mayor Biggs
Labour Biggs protestations ring hollow
Labour Mayor Biggs’s personal protestations and justifications about this serious corruption £2m bribery allegation and the nature of his precise role – the inexcusable delay, suppression of information, action or inaction in this saga by him, and/or those working under his executive mayoral control at the Town Hall – may seem very hallow to many residents, even to some of his supporters.
Biggs came to power with Tory votes in 2015 on the back of politically motivated smear campaign that culminated in a sham Election Court decision pursued by 4 political animals belonging to the right-wing politics, including two Tower Hamlets Labour Party members (one of whom has now ditched Biggs after his poor performance in power and the Labour’s Brexit position), and the UKIP huddled together with far-right, who were ferociously supported in their Election Petition by Leader of the Tower Hamlets Conservatives, Peter Golds, against their arch political rival, former Tower Hamlets Labour Leader and Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman, after losing two democratically held elections to Lutfur – one was declared void as a result of petition by political opponenets – when he stood as an Independent Mayor due to widely accepted miscarriage of justice by the Labour Party against him.
Tower Hamlets Labour’s top Decision Makers are accused of working with Tories/right-wingers while ignoring the community/residents and failing to deliver once elected, critics claim.
Worry Not – Labour ‘Already’ Got this in the Bag
Labour Party Councillor on Lancaster City Council, Matthew Mann, a veteran of housing, development and local public affairs sectors, have stated that “..Tower Hamlets has yet again been hit by a corruption scandal allegations, this time in the Labour Party. Allegations have surfaced in the Sunday Times that figures within the council’s Labour administration may have been open to receiving bribes in return for supporting planning applications, with evidence eventually being passed to the National Crime Agency..” and “…It is as yet unclear what level of traction these reports will gain with voters, as no charges have yet been brought forward….”.
This looks like a very similar scenario to what happened to the former Mayor Lutfur Rahman yet he was removed without any official charges – a formal accusation made by a governmental authority (usually the public prosecutor or the police) asserting that somebody has committed a crime. No charges were ever brought against Lutfur reinforcing the view about the sham nature of his removal – Election Court Petition pursued by political opponenets and the civil petition decision is no substitute for a professional court with a jury considering formal charges – none of which was the case when Lutfur was ganged up by the right-wing political rivals.
Insulting, Arrogant and Murky?!
Biggs and Tower Hamlets Labour have failed to provide even vaguely satisfactory answers about the criminal bribery corruption allegations published in The Sunday Times, the BBC, Daily Mail and across the board in the media – originally uncovered and exposed by The Sunday Times Investigation Unit.
Tower Hamlets Labour Mayor’s response stating that those asking legitimate questions about the alleged corruption and bribery under his watch – and what critics claim Biggs’ own ‘delaying and suppression tactics’ to protect his Labour administration – are ‘whistling in the wind’ while it was Biggs who hid the criminal corruption scandal allegations under his watch from residents for almost two years – this is frankly insulting and arrogant, critics allege.
Biggs another response was even more baffling stating that ‘I am no Sheriff’ but no one actually said he was?! It seems that Labour Biggs came up with a nice sound-bite without any substance to his answers and expects everyone to follow his politically convenient line to protect his position and that of Tower Hamlets Labour administration.
National Media Coverage : Corruption/Criminal Bribery Allegation about Labour -run Administration of John Biggs. Police/NCA are investigating.
Right to Govern!
Any investigation, suspension or action from Tower Hamlets Labour as to who the possible Tower Hamlets Labour Councillors involved could be or none are? Not heard about!?
Any suspension, overhaul, change of membership action about the possible Labour councillors involvement or none from Tower Hamlets Council led by Biggs? Nope!?
The Planning process was not compromised line, as adopted by the Labour-run council, seems a convenient and calculated cop-out which does not fill residents with confidence, does it?
The questions are many: When was it not compromised? By whom? How do you know? Can you reassure residents, tax-payers, please? Why waste public money in getting taxpayer-funded opinions after opinions in secret, hiding from public? Why?
Is it too much to ask given that Tower Hamlets Labour Group led by Biggs appoints the members to the Council’s Planning and Strategic Development Committees who according to The Sunday Times – backed up with the secret recording – were open to receieving bribes apparently?
Why no public statement or progress report from the Labour-run Tower Hamlets Council about the Police/NCA investigation? Is that how you become transparent, mainstream and accountable? ‘If there is nothing to see here guv, at least say that officially? No? Is there? Who knows?
This cop-out looks increasingly like a deafening and hypocritical silence in comparison with the right-wing of Tower Hamlets Labour, Tory and Biggs’ rhetoric against the former Mayor – out of proportion responses and the smear campaign about the politically motivated, lazy and convenient cases of alleged impropriety by their mutual political rival – Lutfur Rahman.
Biggs, Current Mayor (left), Lutfur Rahman, Former Mayor of Tower Hamlets (right)
Labour Insider View and Voters
Tower Hamlets Labour insider close to Biggs, on the understanding of anonymity, have said that:
‘Since TV reports have not picked on the £2m criminal bribery story and the opposition’s failure to make this a central election issue, Tower Hamlets Labour will easily ride it out, increasing their councillors, winning handsomely with an increased majority for Biggs who will be re-elected as Mayor’.
The Labour insider, added:
‘No-one really reads The (Sunday) Times in Tower Hamlets (probably implying Labour voters? brackets added), so we will be absolutely fine in 2018 election.’
Many believe that Labour claims could be true as the Opposition groups have failed to sufficiently inform residents about the failures of Biggs’ Labour Administration, critically, about the shocking criminal bribery allegation and the police/National Crime Agency investigation into this saga on Labour’s watch, along with shocking rebuke by OFSTED under Biggs, and the increase in crime when Biggs refused to fund local police in 2016.
It has been more 2 years now since the criminal bribery allegation was reported to Biggs in person – the most serious to have come out of Tower Hamlets with actual evidence of recording but the opposition are too busy infighting, scarred or lacks the resolve.
Ability to Think!
- Remember Tower Hamlets Labour/Biggs lectures and election pledges about transparency, accountability and good ethical governance?
- Has Tower Hamlets Labour and Biggs not lost the right to govern in light of this shameful corruption allegation alone – backed up with a recording – when they have failed to even refute the alleged bribery attempt of £2m?
- Can people or critics pose the questions or will they continued to be attacked with the usual Whataboutery and Ad hominems?
- Are the voters allowed to consider this before voting to elect who governs them for the next four years?
Tory Golds abandon Biggs and jump in with Rabina/Path?
As for local Tories, led by Peter Golds, they just want to politically survive in a meaningful way but given their record, they may want to keep Biggs in power while propping Rabina up just enough for a strategic use against Lutfur Rahman, his supporters and Aspire, using her as a key tool in a classic divide and rule strategy that the British Raj would have been proud of.
Tories supported and voted for Biggs in 2015 but are now rumoured to be in an informal alliance with Rabina Khan and her Path group as their own political existence in a meaningful sense is supposedly under threat according to Labour sources and they fear the Newham scenario in Tower Hamlets.
Path leader, Rabina Khan, who is standing in 2018 election, was present with the local business tycon – the £2m Labour fixer – at a press conference just before the criminal corruption scandal allegation involving him was exposed by the national media. Her critics claim that Rabina Khan was on the verge of selecting £2m fixer as her election candidate for Spitalfields and Banglatown ward but was forced to halt after the scandal broke out. The Tower Hamlets Labour Scandal allegation was made public at last – after 18 long months of reported censorship and delaying tactics by Biggs/Labour/Tower Hamlets Council. Yet after more than 2 years, residents are none the wiser!
Critics claim that Rabina Khan’s alleged close association with the fixer stops Mrs Khan/Path and their supporters from making this corruption scandal allegations a central election campaign issue against Biggs for the fear of upsetting any current, previous or future understanding with him. However, WTP understands that Rabina Khan denies any wrongdoing and these claims. We are not aware of any statement from her about the demands for an urgent ‘corruption investigation result’ or about the claims made by Labour fixer who was alleged to have been standing for Mrs Khan’s Path – we will be happy to publish if Mrs Khan or anyone from Path officially email us. The same applies to John Biggs even though some of his views and responses have been incorporated based on his media response.
Ohid/Aspire Ahmed trying hard?
Aspire Party of Ohid Ahmed – supported by Lutfur Rahman as he is perfectly entitled to as a British citizen – have reportedly forced many questions at the Town Hall, issued statements and put out a leaflet/statement demanding answers on the issue but how much traction this gets is yet to be established. Aspire is also welcome to send any comments by email.
Home and Dry with increased majority & Opposition Wiped Out?
Usually active local Bengali media and opposition groups are either too scared, ‘well-managed’ or too fragmented to put across to Tower Hamlets voters the key facts and information about the reported links to alleged criminal corruption under Labour Mayor’s administration, as well as the claims of public and published discrimination by Biggs own Deputy (from Labour Party) against the Labour Mayor Biggs (which he denies) but no independent investigation has ever been carried out or been made public by the Labour Party to establish the truth. This is not the first time allegations of racism/discrimination are made against Biggs by his own party members.
In fact, Labour-run Tower Hamlets Council which has a clear statutory duty to investigate such serious claims of bullying, Islamophobia and sexism (published by the BBC as well as others) made by a serving Labour councillor and Biggs’ own Deputy Mayor has blatantly refused to investigate the complaint after ‘discussing the matter with Biggs, and others – all under Tower Hamlets Labour administration of John Biggs. This may prove to be extremely helpful for Biggs and Tower Hamlets Labour Party for his widely anticipated victory on 3 May 2018 (result expected on 4 May, early morning) with an increased margin, and up to 35-40 Labour Councillors according to Labour sources.
Scared, Browbeaten and Fragmented
Usually exuberant Bengali and other local media in Tower Hamlets, opposition and even the voters seem psychologically scarred, mentally fatigued, emotionally frightened and browbeaten by the right-wing elements to ask legitimate questions since the sham and politically facilitated Election Court Petition and the Election Court verdict (not High Court as ELA deliberately and falsely carrying on publishing) against the former Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman’s administration.
To browbeat and put the community – rooted politics in its place, one of the key objectives of Biggs-Labour and Golds-Tory led coalition – seemed to have been achieved in the last unofficial outpose of Britihs Raj – Tower Hamlets.
Criminal Corruption Scandal Investigation
In short, an international firm wanting to build Britain’s fifth-tallest skyscraper in Tower Hamlets was told ‘four Labour political cronies’ would be paid ‘half a mill’ each to approve the planning application.
All such planning applications go to the Tower Hamlets Council’s planning committee called the Strategic Development Committee which has a decisive Labour majority and the Labour Chair – a case for almost more than two decades.
All Tower Hamlets Labour Development and Planning Committee Members are appointed or approved by Tower Hamlets Labour Group – the Leader of the Tower Hamlets Labour Councillors/Party is Labour Mayor John Biggs – and then rubber stamped by the Council as Labour has an unassailable majority in the chamber.
£2m Bribery Fixer was a Biggs Key Election Campaigner!
It is a matter of record that the Labour-linked £2m fixer was Biggs’s key campaigner in 2015 election (The Sunday Times), who secured local business support. Therefore, very probably votes for Biggs and Labour – due to his hard work in campaigning for them.
Was he promised or expecting a nice reward for his work after the Labour victory? Residents do not know for sure but one can put the dots together to come to own conclusion.
The Labour fixer also hosted a campaign meeting for Biggs at his business place.
Therefore, given the delay and hiding of information from the public domain under his mayoral watch when Biggs was personally approached by the international firm with evidence and information, Labour Mayor Biggs can’t claim that he did everything right because facts do not support his bizzare claim despite his rather entitled justifications and denials, critics say.
Nothing to see here, guv?
Labour Can’t Hide its Head in Sand
- The voters do not know if and who are the 4 Tower Hamlets Labour Politicians/Councillors are – demanding £500,000 each (combined £2m) to approve a local planning application for the 5th tallest skyscraper in the country, according to the Sunday Times.
- The residents deserve to, at the very least, have a clear official statement from Tower Hamlets Labour that no Labour Councillors was involved and the Labour fixer who campaigned for Labour Mayor Biggs was lying?! or that those involved, suspected/reported to have been involved from internal intelligence of the party have been removed from the process until the final outcome is known?
- In the absence of the above set of information, what shall neutral residents believe?
- Can the Labour Party simply shrug its shoulder without its own internal investigation to reassure the residents and its own ordinary and decent members that ‘there is nothing dodgy or corrupt taking place in Tower Hamlets Labour or Council led by its Labour Mayor and councillors?
Where is the hurriedly arranged special Police and Crime Committee hearing at London Councils, supported by Labour GLA member, as was the case about other such issue – another politically forced police invetigation against their political rival – supported and attended by Biggs, Golds and the right-wing Labour and Tory politicians?
Where is the moral and hysterical outrage by Labour and Tories we are accustomed to before the election when Lutfur Rahman was the Mayor or contesting directly?
Kick the Labour Corruption scandal in the long grass – like many other failures under Biggs – and hope voters will not remember or have the intelligence to comprehend? A fine strategy by Tower Hamlets Labour!?
Tower Hamlets Labour’s Broken Promises
Oh, the Tower Hamlets Labour’s subliminal jibes and Biggs’ soundbite of being ‘mainstream’ aimed at his political rivals – not sure if they meant serious corruption/bribery allegations will be so mainstream that international firms based in Hong Kong will be affected by their alleged dodgy and corrupt practices and the good name of Tower Hamlets dragged through the mud across the front page of The Sunday Times and reported widely by media across the board – mainstream enough, one might think?
People of Tower Hamlets simply want someone who can deliver for them, who can put them first, who can stand up for them, who can inspire them, who can aspire to be better and truer, someone who is half decent and won’t let them down once in power. They don’t particularly want a saint or a sinner, not a polished performer in front of camera or someone with an impeccable English accent – it is about merit, the track record, the policy pledges, the integrity and sticking up for principles and standing up for those who vote for you even when the going gets tough.
In any objective analysis, it can easily be argued that Labour Biggs failed in his primary duty of accountability, transparency and to maintain integrity, something the Labour Mayor was bound to uphold in the public office and pledged to deliver before he was elected in 2015. Yet, Tower Hamlets Labour ain’t really seem bothered to come clean about a number of key issues, apologise for their wrongs and indeed the criminal bribery allegations.
How can Residents Trust Tower Hamlets Labour?
Many believe that given the above situation, with the shocking record in power laced with incompetence, failures and broken promises, how can residents believe a word John Biggs and Tower Hamlets Labour say, especially after the failures and incompetence, just before the election?